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#337618 - 08/04/10 03:27 PM Should I/could I be a counselor?
fhorns Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/10/02
Posts: 668
NOTE: I am throwing this out there with self-doubt caused by my present abuse recovery. I am not unmoving in my intent to pursue this, but I'm really drawn toward it. This isn't the first time I've looked or headed this direction.


Over the last 15 years, I've done numerous personality and career tests, for I just wanted to "know" what I should be doing for a living. I asked the questions, "When I retire, will I be proud of what I've done? Will I have pursued my dream? Did I give back anything, to someone, somewhere?"

The answer to this question made me realize psychology or counseling is what I've been attracted to. My major in college: psychology. My first major was elementary education, but after feeling more like a child myself, I sabotaged myself, imploded, and ended the semester with very low grades.

Well, it's been 10 years since I graduated from college, I'm unemployed now, and recently had neuropsychological testing with Vocational Rehab to identify any deficiencies created during a brain surgery in 2005. The right hippocampus was removed, which involves short term memory. I met with the psychologist to discuss the results Monday, and all my memory scores were "below average" except for working visual memory. I use the latter in reading and writing, which is why I put a lot of time here at MS. Verbal memory is a weakness I'm afraid of, for in the psychologist's opinion, you need to remember what a patient is saying less you cause harm later. I countered "what about taking notes?" I've always appreciated T's who were note-takers, because it was, IMO, concrete. He/anyone could look back on his notes to reference what we talked about. For the testing psychologist I was with, that was his biggest, and only, dissuader to pursuing the field.

Then there's why I'm here at MS daily. I'd like discussion with those in the field (or who have seriously considered it) to see how wise a step forward would be right now. The big question I expect is:

Have you dealt with your own abuse adequately?

No, not adequately. I'm moving towards seeking a licensed T, for lately I've been with a church leader and his training is not adequate, by his own admission. I've done T in the past, but it's been 4 years since I've been with one. I tried T with another church leader, but he too wasn't trained to deal with SA. I have stayed in 12 groups with men consistently, but a T, no. And only because of money.

A question I've got to throw out is this: how many men, whether T's or not, pursued T while in school? What was it like? I know King Tut here is pursuing his doctorate in physics, Geeders is a practicing LCSW, and there just have to be others in higher trades. I also know Mike Lew cites many men going into helping professions.

So, there's my question. Could I/should be a counselor? I need some common sense here, as it's not my forte. I'm sometimes too idealistic. Thanks.

Alfred


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#337620 - 08/04/10 03:56 PM Re: Should I/could I be a counselor? [Re: fhorns]
Geeders Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/03/08
Posts: 1901
Loc: Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
How could I not respond to this??? whistle

Alfred, I can't answer your question for you I'm afraid. Only you can do that. Instead though, I'd like to pose another question. Its not to either persuade you or disuade you. Its just to get you thinking a bit. Can you withstand the stuff you are liable to hear on a daily basis? Its doesn't matter whether its abuse related, or child welfare, or psychosocial oncology. What matters is how you will be able to deal with all the heartache you will hear from a career in counselling.

Vicarious traumatization is an area long ignored in the training of professionals in my opinion. Back in the 70's when I was in university (eek! eek ) squat was said about it. Today though, we are seeing more to address this topic, for it is sorely needed. We do address it in recovery in the issue of self care. How do we take care of ourselves when in the midst of a crisis (recovery) when we really don't have time, or energy for another one. This is a lesson I have learned late in life, and really only as a result of entering into recovery from my CSA.

Remembering, reading, listening, taking notes are very important parts of a skill set of every counsellor. So is self care, and dealing appropriately with vicarious traumatization.

Just some more food for thought.

Cheers!

Jim

_________________________
My name is Jim
WoR Mysthaven 2008, Level 2 WoR Alta 2009, Kirkridge 2010, 2011, Oprah 200 men

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#337629 - 08/04/10 06:35 PM Re: Should I/could I be a counselor? [Re: Geeders]
fhorns Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/10/02
Posts: 668
Part of me says "Are you kidding?" No training for this? Self-care is essential for professional survival in the field. I have become aware of that these last 4 years, first from doing my own inventory (knowing my vulnerabilities), and then from watching a video of working with combat veterans. As they shared their stories, the therapist(s) were duly stressed and had to attend to themselves simultaneously.

I expect this sort of reaction periodically, and the question for me is "what is my threshhold?" What/who can I regularly deal with? I got a PM from someone a short while ago, and it's made me want to investigate a LCSW route. I have been set on MHC because of the different intensity levels. Whereas MHC just "counsel", therapists dig in with a specific treatment modality, find the problem, and attack it.

You've been in social work. May I PM you with questions? Thank you so much for responding. It was....invigorating! (Part of me says "I could do this? WOW")

Alfred

P.S. I'll give the video I was talking about. It's only 20 minutes long, and I'm biased to this treatment because it has worked so far--for me.
www.stressproject.com/



Edited by fhorns (08/04/10 06:39 PM)

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#340946 - 09/27/10 02:32 PM Re: Should I/could I be a counselor? [Re: fhorns]
fhorns Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/10/02
Posts: 668
I'm nervous about writing, but today begins almost 8 months of being without work. I say "okay, gonna work on my resume today", and thoughts arise, valid or not, of what I'd really want to do. I've wanted, on and off, to go into counseling or mental health of some kind, for years. Then my own memories surface, and.....I'm off to another wonder somewhere else. I openly avoid it then.

I started looking at resume materials again today to pinpoint my strengths, things I am and would be proud about, and that's when my mind floated. THAT big hurdle is applying to a school, adjusting my wife to a 3-4 year financial commitment, and me just doing my work---which will be a lot of reading and being involved.

I'm afraid of school, meaning change, because of possibilities I'm going to have to confront. I trip myself when I get near this possibility:

If I make more, will people leave me? Or will I leave them?
Will the financial stress make me and my wife fight more? Will she leave me?
If I'm in school, will I be able to give and receive as much time/emotional support from my family?
If I'm in school, will I have time......for me?
Will I sabotage success due to fear of these possibilities?
What do I do when I want to hide?
What if I start feeling six years old again? What the hell am I to do about that?



The other side: I get honestly excited when considering this, and I'm afraid to say that considering my lack of emotional strength (my own judgement). It may be because so far I've never been emotionally committed to someone either in recovery, or in real life. I think the worst about me there. I think employers would want people more focused, more intentional and driven to help their clientele.

I fantasize about finding ways for people to handle their own emotions, not for me to do it. I (and probably many others) are just not capable of doing that. I know burnout can be high in some professions, and picking up crap daily would be...mmmmm......impossible for me. (I do have some experience now that i think of it, but it was with kids in the classroom. I fought going back every year due to me thinking I had to carry EVERYONE'S pain.)

But that's where and why I'm stuck. Replies are welcomed.

Alfred

P.S. A mentor would be invaluable to me here


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#340950 - 09/27/10 04:06 PM Re: Should I/could I be a counselor? [Re: fhorns]
Avery46 Offline


Registered: 09/23/10
Posts: 1243
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: fhorns
I fought going back every year due to me thinking I had to carry EVERYONE'S pain.)


I too am going into a helping profession very soon. I am in school presently.

I believe the key to success for us survivors (well everyones) is to NOT carry everyones pain.

We can have compassion but we can only do what we can do.

I am "working" right with you as far as being a survivor with the affects and obstacles to hurdle. I have COMPLEX PTSD.

I am taking one step at a time for that is all we can do.

I will be working with juveniles or in victim advocacy.

Lets stay in touch.

A

_________________________
aka DJsport

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#340969 - 09/27/10 07:59 PM Re: Should I/could I be a counselor? [Re: Avery46]
SamV Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 5942
Loc: Talladega, Alabama, USA
Terrific question, Alfred, am I capable, and if I am, should I attempt it.

The answer is.., maybe. It is in the future, and there is nothing to be done about the future except to change the present to make the future what we want.

I have considered the 8 year commitment in college, and that for me is a dead "no".

My plan currently focuses on local, small support groups and a life coach career.

Maybe that helps? Maybe that just muddies the water. I am confident of your empathy, so, IMHO, you SHOULD. Ultimately, we are capable of whatever we set ourselves to act on.

Peace and curiosity to you, Alfred,

Sam

_________________________
MaleSurvivor Moderator Emeritus 2012 - 2014

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#341080 - 09/29/10 12:18 PM Re: Should I/could I be a counselor? [Re: SamV]
fhorns Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/10/02
Posts: 668
Sam,
Could you explain the life coach idea? I have heard of them, and did a little internet research yesterday about them.

What would you do?

Why would you do it (not financially speaking)?

What opportunities are possible for you?


And Avery, I'll be in touch with you more. Our stories parallel a LOT. Thank you for sharing about your school venture right now.

Alfred


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#341101 - 09/29/10 04:00 PM Re: Should I/could I be a counselor? [Re: fhorns]
SamV Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 5942
Loc: Talladega, Alabama, USA
Hey Alfred,

I am just seeing the potential in life coaching myself, having only really just begun, as you have, to look into it.

Here is some information;

http://www.marthabeck.com/coach_training_detail.php?class_id=151

and

http://www.mikelitman.com/blog/

or

http://www.donmilton.net/

After this search, I began to concentrate on leaving the abuse baggage from my conversations with my wife and kids, so I really have not looked into it, Alfred.

Feel free to ask around, there are pro's and con's. I think sensitive men, who enjoy organization and communicating can really do well at life coaching.

Sam

_________________________
MaleSurvivor Moderator Emeritus 2012 - 2014

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